Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010 Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference

In its second year, The Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Kissimmee, Florida was a huge success with 800 attendees from all over Florida and surrounding States.
I met with one acre farmers/gardeners to 14,000 acre farms (R.C. Hatton in Pahokee).  I was not able to get to all the workshops but the ones I did attend were: Farm-to-School, Hydroponics and aquaculture, Marketing of products, Agri-Tourism, and Composting.

I learned about urban farming from a presentation put on by Will Allen, the keynote speaker of the conference and realized there is much potential for this type of farming in other parts of the country.

What I took away from the conference was: Palm Beach County was the first country in Florida to start the Farm-To-School system; Aquaponic (combining hydroponics and aquaculture) farms can raise fish that are for more than just food; Agri-tourism has the potential to rise in this state (fishing at aquaponics farms); There are several ways to compost and create good mulch; Organic farming is on the rise; Urban farming can become a reality in any area (G.R.O.W. project in abandoned railway yards).

In the next few months I plan to visit and write articles about the many of the farmers I met at the conference.

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